Finally got a bit more written on that story. Here it is, for all it's worth...
I didn’t see either Josh or Heath for several days after that. We all caught colds from compromising our immune systems by being out too long in the rain, so none of us were able to do much of anything beyond a few light school subjects.
We didn’t go back to public school until three days later. I still had a bad case of the sniffles, and Josh had a nasty cough. Heath seemed the least affected, although when we were sitting in calculus class, he sneezed so loud that the teacher lost her train of thought and had to ask the class what she’d been talking about.
I saw our three lookalikes that day, too. Josh’s was a jock, which I found immensely amusing until they came up to us. They looked like they were about to start a fight, but then the three eagles swooped down out of the sky and drove them away. Heath was all for chasing them, but Josh and I held him back.
“Think about it, Heath. What good would that do?” Josh reasoned. Heath had to admit that it wouldn’t do any good, so we continued to our houses.
After Heath and Josh had gone home, I pottered around the house, bored out of my mind. I was so bored that I cleaned my bedroom, both the bathrooms, and the living room, just so I could have something to do. When I finished, my parents still hadn’t brought my little sister home from music practice, so I sat in front of my computer and stared at my most recent writing project. My mind was completely blank, which was unusual for me. Typically, I got writer’s block from having too many ideas, not too few.
Mercifully, my parents and sister came home only a few minutes after I sat down at my computer. We ate dinner, and since my cold was acting up, I went to bed early.
I slept uneasily that night. I kept dreaming about dead eagles and a strange-looking compass. Normal compasses have north, south, east, and west on them, but this compass did not. It had only one point on it, where north usually was. I couldn’t quite make out what that point was, even though I scrutinized the compass in my dreams.
Early in the morning—around two thirty—I was woken by a noise. I sniffed, yawned, and opened my eyes. I had to all but stuff my fist in my mouth to keep from screaming. Standing in my room was my double. She was looking at me blankly, but when she saw that I was awake, she said, “Get dressed.”
“Why?” I asked. My double flicked her wrist, and a white-hot flame appeared above her palm. I jumped, startled; I had thought that she was human, like me, but I was beginning to have my doubts.
“Now,” she commanded. I hopped out of bed and obeyed as fast as I could.
I had dressed in several layers, which was good, because when I had finished, my double took my arm and we were transported to the forest. Josh and his double were already there. It was several minutes, however, before Heath and his double appeared. The double looked annoyed, and Heath probably would have, too, if he hadn’t been trying to pull a shirt over his head.
“This one,” Heath’s double said emphatically and somewhat warmly, “is trouble.”
Yeah, no kidding. I stifled a snicker, despite the questionable circumstances.
Heath finally got his shirt on and straightened it, wincing. His face looked strained. I sidled closer to him, curious.
“Are you okay?” I whispered. Heath shrugged slightly and bit back a yelp as his face drained of color.
“I’ll live,” he replied grimly, once he caught his breath.
“Well…” Heath began slowly. “It’s a bit of a long story. Cheerful here came into my bedroom and told me to get dressed. I asked why. He told me to get dressed now.” Even though he was obviously in pain, his droll sense of humor surfaced as he pulled a comically threatening face and imitated his double. “I asked why again. All this time I’d thought that these… other people… were just humans, but my double’s fingers turned into cat-o-nine-tails and he lashed me with them.” He lifted one side of his shirt slightly to reveal deep slices on his torso. “You know me… I still didn’t get the hint. I jumped for him, and he smashed me into my dresser. I’m not sure how he did it, because he never touched me. Anyway, I landed on these gashes, which hurt like anything, so I decided to obey him. And now I’m here.”
The doubles, for whatever reason, had allowed us to talk freely, but when Heath finished, they separated us and tied our hands behind our backs. Then they stood beside us, as if presenting us to something.
That something appeared gradually, giving us all plenty of time to get scared. It was big, black, and ugly, and I surmised that it was a type of demon or some such beastie.
“Where is it?” it growled. Its voice was as cold and damp as a cave and conjured up an impression of ancient, evil power. Heath, Josh, and I exchanged looks. Where is what?
“You have it. Where is it?” the apparition asked again. Before we could answer, our doubles screeched, sounding reminiscent of fingernails on a chalkboard, and vanished in clouds of foul-smelling smoke. The black thing hissed, roared, and shrank down on itself until it, too, was gone. Our bonds melted away like mist. A bright light shone for the smallest part of a second behind us, and we turned to see what it was.